Signed for a record fee of 50million in 2011 you wouldn’t be wrong if you said that Torres hasn’t totally lived up to his luxurious price tag. A string of unflattering performances has led to the Spaniard amassing a range of critics, as the pressure now mounts on him to fill the void left by former blue Drogba. However now armed with Roman Abramovich’s promise of first team football, things could finally be looking up for the player known as El Niño.
Firstly I have to say that I don’t think Torres has been as bad as the media and fans have made out. Fernando Torres has only managed to start 28 Premier League games since his arrival from Liverpool in 2011. He scored 10 goals last season in all competitions without having a regular run of over 6 PL starts in the starting 11. However rather interestingly Torres managed to get 9 assists last season, therefore if you combine Torres goals and assists together it would result in him being involved in more goals than Drogba was last season, despite featuring in fewer games. Not too bad really is it?
So let’s put it into further perspective, cast your minds back to the previous 2011/2012 season, Rooney went over 9 games without scoring a goal for united but still started every game in the process. While Van Persie also went 8 games without a goal for Arsenal and he too kept his place in the team during that period. The difference is that their managers showed more faith in them, allowing them the time to find their form again, while Torres hasn’t had this treatment yet, instead he is subbed and relegated to the bench after any mediocre performance.
I for one wouldn’t like to see another striker join Chelsea this summer. I think we should wait until January to asset the performances of Torres and Sturridge, as it’s the least either deserve after 18 months of living in Drogba’s shadow. Torres scored 10 goals in all competitions compared to Drogba’s 13, not a huge difference really.
However should they not deliver, fans shouldn’t be too alerted, instead we should remember that this season is all about transition, with new players and new philosophies that will require time to develop, before they can be delivered to full effect. Meaning expectations should be lowered while we wait and allow time for this new and exciting blend of players to come to fruition.
I for one didn’t think Torres had settled properly at Stamford Bridge, playing under three different managers and systems in 18months wouldn’t have made Torres’s switch from Liverpool to Chelsea any easier. It also hasn’t been helped by the fact that Chelsea managers have generally chosen to employ only one striker in each of their formations since Torres’s arrival. Ultimately limiting his contribution, as playing time understandably became restricted.
Let’s be honest Fernando Torres isn’t a bad player; he just needs confidence in his play and feel included by his mangers. Two things’ that havent been present since his move to Chelsea in Jan 2011, so hopefully Di Matteo’s management skills can help Torres feel like an important member of the first team in this new Chelsea era.
I think Torres is at his best when playing regularly, at Atlético Madrid under the guidance of Luis Aragonés and Javier Aguirre, Torres scored 81 goals, as well as being made captain (for thoses questioning his mental strength should take note, as mental strength is traditionally a key trait for a captain, so it can’t as weakness as people suggest). Then at Liverpool, Torres played as a lone striker in a system which isn’t too different from Di Matteo’s 4-2-3-1 formation, scoring 84 goals for Liverpool. Therefore it’s reassuring to know that Torres has the ability to score goals, it’s just about finding a style that suits his direct footballing preference.
I wholeheartedly believe Torres can come good this season, a real positive for me was the arrival and relationship with arguably Chelsea’s most influential player at the moment Juan Mata. I think the little Spaniard could hold the key to Torres’s form improving. As whenever they have played together a natural and exciting understanding emerges in their link up play. Should the two Spaniards continue their promising understanding, then Torres could benefit massively from Mata’s creativity this season.
I have never doubted Torres; I think he’s got all the abilities to be as good as Drogba (not direct replacement). He is quick, his movement is good, and his work rate and finishing are key assets to his game. One downfall to Torres is that he will always struggle to create the moments of pure magic that Drogba was capable of. Instead Torres will be a typical number 9, getting on to passes, linking the play, and playing off the last defender.
Sadly for Torres he will start the season with many doubters, however rather encouragingly the support Torres receives from fans at match games is always brilliant. This is something that he’ll need more of in the coming season if he is going to come close to emulating Drogba legacy.
With patient, support and playing time I’m backing Torres to silence the critics he has gathered in recent seasons. However time will tell if I’m right, I really hope I am.Follow @Lolo_CFC